GNBS, other stakeholders meet to draft new quality guidelines

The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) met stakeholders on Monday for consultations on the Guyana National Quality Infrastructure (GNQI) which aims to ensure that local products comply with regional and international guidelines.

The GNQI aims to improve the quality of goods and services through partnerships with government, consumers and industry, through a process of standardisation, a press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said. “The GNQI will also promote the national quality infrastructure, for economic and social development and consumer protection, in partnership with key sectors,” it added.

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce (Ag) Irfaan Ali told stakeholders that now is the time to implement standards, particularly in the light of the current transition of the economy. He noted that the oil and gas industry has a number of international standards, in addition to those sectors which will seek to benefit from the service spin-offs of that industry.

Ali underscored that the seminar was important as government has recognised the need to strengthen the GNBS’s capacity – a task which has already started through the National Development Strategy – by equipping officers with technical skills and providing institutional necessities. “We are looking towards investing in a state-of-the-art lab that would do all the testing right here in Guyana. That will ensure our products remain competitive…”

He also said that during this month a series of national standards; starting with building codes and guidelines will be launched.

Regulations for the tourism sector will also be set. They will include the classification of eco lodges and hotels and various services sectors based on standards and criteria. Ali also noted that the local private sector is currently looking to invest in Venezuela and that a team is travelling to that country to break into new markets. “We must have that capacity locally so that we can issue the certification and do the training, so our local companies can be equipped to make use of these opportunities,” the minister said.

Government is also set to invest in the National Standard Institution. “We are going to make this information public so that the consumer would understand who adheres to quality and where certification is. It is important in fair trade. This is important in safeguarding the consumer, and in ensuring that quality is matched with the price paid,” Ali noted.

According to GINA, the development of the GNQI is a macro plan that would examine all the sectors in their entirety and set the standards and regulations for each that will ensure the enabling legislations are passed. This is expected to foster a new approach to standards for emerging sectors such as oil, gas and tourism, and allow the current programme to be seen as an advanced, proactive move to ensure that local and international standards conform.

The minister urged local manufacturers and other stakeholders to ensure that the GNBS is ready to meet these new challenges. The agency recognises that it cannot operate in isolation and needs support from stakeholders in order to achieve the objectives of implementing an excellent national quality infrastructure for Guyana.

Monday’s seminar is the first in a series of consultations that would run for six months after which it is expected that there will be draft legislation and regulations and a common understanding of the standards that every sector would be expected to meet, GINA said.

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